I have had my fair share of presentations/pitches. I feel like that's all I did the last two years of college - no doubt. If you are a business or communications major and you are looking to pitch your idea to a company, looking to sell a product, or pitching your blog to potential sponsors - presentation/pitch skills are vital. There are a few mistakes that I've noticed along the way that most people, starting out, make and I want to save you from them!
Let's get this party started!
1. Don't take this too seriously. What I mean by that is that a lot of people go into presentations completely freaked out and second guessing themselves. Guess what this leads to? A really bad presentation. It's so obvious when somebody is trying to be someone they aren't. For example, if I went into a presentation and was super serious and had no conversational tone in my voice - I wouldn't be myself. I would be a robot version of myself just trying to wing my way through a presentation. Not good. You want to loosen up and have fun with it because that is when your true personality will shine through and THAT is what sells anything you are talking about.
2. Use a visual aid purely for that reason alone - a visual aid. Do not, I repeat, do not go into a presentation and read STRAIGHT from your Powerpoint. This is bad, very bad. This means that not only do you not know what you are talking about but you also didn't prepare. A visual aid is supposed to help your audience SEE what you are saying while you are saying it. It's for them only - as my professors would like to say. I saw this one kid in a class get up there for a presentation with six other members (which by the way is WAY too many members) and either it was his first time presenting OR they just did not feel comfortable with the information they were selling. He had a full sheet of paper in front of him (which I'll talk about next), had his back to the audience and was literally, quite literally, staring at the screen reading word-for-word. Talk about a bad presentation. I shifted in my chair a few times because I was so uncomfortable for him. Please don't do this. Take the time to create a visual aid if that is what is asked of you but please be comfortable enough with your information that you aren't using it as basically notecards as well.
3. Notecards are a no-no. Yep, I said it. My professor were very hard on us in my curriculum. We could not have notecards at all but I believe that helped me out a ton with my presentation skills. Not only was I more comfortable presenting without any help at all but the conversation flowed better when I knew my information. I wasn't having to read off of a 3 X 5 notecard for my next line and I wasn't staring up at the screen for my next cue. It took the pressure off quite honestly. Now, I will say this...if you do NEED a notecard that is not frowned upon. Some people just cannot get through a presentation without one and that is perfectly fine. Just remember that you don't want to use them throughout the entire presentation...eye contact is key when you are presenting and so you don't want to be looking down the whole time - it convinces the audience that you are unsure of what you want or what you know and they will be less likely to indulge in what you're selling them.
4. It's not a numbers game. This isn't accounting and you aren't reading me my financials so please, quit with all the numbers. Don't mistake what I'm saying. I'm not saying that your numbers aren't important and to not include them but I am saying that no one wants to just LOOK/READ a bunch of numbers. They won't understand it. So what you have to do is break it down into "normal" terms that they can understand. I was showed a video in my undergrad classes of one of the best elevator pitches and it had so many numbers that my entire class ended up on their phones. How in the heck did this win best elevator pitch? It's because he was SO confident in what he was saying (which is next) but I was lost and I know everyone else was lost and for my professors taste - she said it was WAY too many numbers. Don't do it, just don't. We aren't all numbers people and it is proven that we are visual creatures so SHOW me what you're selling and SHOW me who you are!
5. Be confident. I know I've probably said this a few times throughout this guide but being confident really is the best thing you can do. Own up to what your pitching and know your stuff. If you are pitching your blog to a potential sponsor know what you offer your readers, what value you provide, how your blog is different from the millions (yes millions) that are out there and your numbers/analytics to present. If you are presenting a product, how is this product different from the BILLIONS out there and what's the future of this product look like? If you are pitching an idea then you really need a plan. Where's this idea going, what can it transform into, etc! There is a lot to consider when making presentations but once you know all of the previously said information - be confident in it! Tell them you're blog is awesome BECAUSE you run it! Tell them your product is AWESOME because you've found the cure to cancer (almost? not really? WHO CARES) make it sound THAT awesome!! IF you have the personality behind it and you really sell yourself & the thing your pitching - you will be completely & 100% fine!
These are just a few tips to help you get through a pitch/presentation. I hope they've been helpful! What are your tips? What works best for you when you are presenting? Have you ever seen a presentation go wrong? Let me know in the comment section!
You can follow me at the following social media links as well: